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12 Best Balance Transfer and 0% APR Credit Cards of May 2022

May 25, 2022

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.

Transferring a high-interest balance to a credit card with a 0% introductory rate can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars in interest, money you can apply toward getting out of debt sooner. The best balance transfer cards charge no annual fee and offer an introductory 0% period of 18 months or more on transfers, or they have a 0% period of 15 months or more on transfers and offer best-in-class rewards for long-term value.

Some of our selections for the best 0% balance transfer credit cards can be applied for through NerdWallet, and some cannot. Below, you'll find application links for the credit cards from our partners that are available through NerdWallet, followed by the full list of our picks.

NerdWallet's Best Balance Transfer and 0% APR Credit Cards of May 2022

Best Balance Transfer and 0% APR Credit Cards From Our Partners

Our pick for

Long 0% period for transfers

Apply now

on Citibank's application

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

4.4

NerdWallet rating 
Apply now

on Citibank's application

Annual fee

$0

Intro APR

0% Intro APR for 21 months on Balance Transfers and 12 months on Purchases

Regular APR

14.49%-24.49% Variable APR

Recommended Credit Score

The Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card is all about the long 0% intro APR period. It's about as much breathing room as you'll find anywhere for transferring debt.

Pros

  • The long 0% period for transfers is this card's defining feature, giving you more than a year to whittle down debt.

Cons

  • 5% is high for a balance transfer fee. And because it doesn't earn rewards, there's not a lot of ongoing value to the card once that 0% period runs out.

Read full review
  • 0% Intro APR for 21 months on balance transfers from date of first transfer and 0% Intro APR for 12 months on purchases from date of account opening. After that the variable APR will be 14.49% - 24.49%, based on your creditworthiness. Balance transfers must be completed within 4 months of account opening.

  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

  • Get free access to your FICO® Score online.

  • With Citi Entertainment®, get special access to purchase tickets to thousands of events, including concerts, sporting events, dining experiences and more.

  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 14.49% - 24.49%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.

Our pick for

Long 0% period for transfers and purchases

Apply now

on Bank of America's website, or call 800-322-7707

BankAmericard® credit card

4.7

NerdWallet rating 
Apply now

on Bank of America's website, or call 800-322-7707

Annual fee

$0

Intro APR

0% intro APR for 18 billing cycles on purchases, and on any balance transfers made within 60 days of account opening

Regular APR

13.24%-23.24% Variable APR

Recommended Credit Score

The BankAmericard® credit card is a decent option for people looking for a little breathing room to whittle down high-interest credit card debt. And unlike a lot of other cards in its class, there's even a sign-up bonus.

Pros

  • The card offers 0% intro APR for 18 billing cycles on purchases, and on any balance transfers made within 60 days of account opening, and then the ongoing APR of 13.24%-23.24% Variable APR. New cardholders may also qualify for a sign-up bonus: $100 statement credit online bonus after making at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.. And unlike many other balance-transfer cards that are available only to those with excellent credit, some applicants may be able to qualify for this card with good credit.

Cons

  • The card doesn't earn ongoing rewards.

Read full review
  • $100 statement credit online bonus after making at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.

  • 0% Introductory APR for 18 billing cycles for purchases, and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days. After the intro APR offer ends, 13.24% - 23.24% Variable APR will apply. A 3% fee (min $10) applies to all balance transfers.

  • No annual fee.

  • No penalty APR. Paying late won't automatically raise your interest rate (APR). Other account pricing and terms apply.

  • Access your FICO® Score for free within Online Banking or your Mobile Banking app.

  • Contactless Cards - The security of a chip card, with the convenience of a tap.

  • This online only offer may not be available if you leave this page or if you visit a Bank of America financial center. You can take advantage of this offer when you apply now.

Our pick for

Longest 0% period for transfers and purchases

Apply now

on Wells Fargo's website

Wells Fargo Reflect℠ Card

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Apply now

on Wells Fargo's website

Annual fee

$0

Intro APR

0% intro APR for up to 21 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers

Regular APR

13.74%-25.74% Variable APR

Recommended Credit Score

The Wells Fargo Reflect℠ Card boasts an offer that few other cards can match: a 0% intro APR period potentially approaching two years.

Pros

  • The highlight of this $0-annual-fee card: It offers a 0% intro APR on Purchases for up to 21 months and 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers up to 21 months from account opening on qualifying balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 13.74%-25.74% Variable APR It also offers cell phone insurance.

Cons

  • The card doesn't earn ongoing rewards on everyday spending. (It's possible to earn rewards through the issuer's "My Wells Fargo Deals" feature, but those are one-off deals that require activation.) There's also a balance transfer fee.

Read full review
  • 0% intro APR for 18 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers. Intro APR extension of up to 3 months with on-time minimum payments during the intro and extension periods. 13.74% to 25.74% variable APR thereafter; balance transfers made within 120 days qualify for the intro rate and fee of 3% then a BT fee of up to 5%, min $5

  • $0 Annual Fee

  • Get up to $600 of cell phone protection when you pay your monthly cell phone bill with your eligible Wells Fargo card (subject to a $25 deductible).

  • Through My Wells Fargo Deals, you can earn cash back in the form of a statement credit while you shop, dine, or enjoy an experience simply by using your eligible Wells Fargo Credit Card

  • Select "Apply Now" to learn more about the product features, terms and conditions

  • View Rates & Fees

Our pick for

Long 0% period for transfers + bonus cash back

Apply now

on Discover's website

Discover it® Balance Transfer

4.9

NerdWallet rating 
Apply now

on Discover's website

Annual fee

$0

Intro APR

0% intro APR on Purchases for 6 months and 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months

Regular APR

12.24%-23.24% Variable APR

Recommended Credit Score

Most balance-transfer cards don't give you much of a reason to hold onto them after the 0% period ends. The Discover it® Balance Transfer is a noteworthy exception. Get it for the balance-transfer benefits, keep it for the cash-back rewards. This is also the rare balance-transfer card that will consider applications from people with fair or average credit (generally defined as a score of 630 or above).

Pros

  • You get a 0% intro APR on Purchases for 6 months and 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months, and then the ongoing APR of 12.24%-23.24% Variable APR. In addition to the introductory 0% period, this card pays 5% cash back in rotating categories that you activate, on up to $1,500 in purchases each quarter, and 1% on everything else. Discover matches the cash back you earn in your first year — although ideally in that first year you'll be focused more on paying down balances than adding to them.

Cons

  • The 0% period on purchases is considerably shorter than that for balance transfers, so it's best to avoid putting purchases on the card until you've paid off transferred debt. When it comes to rewards, the activation requirement for bonus categories can be a hassle.

Read full review
  • INTRO OFFER: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. You could turn $150 cash back into $300.

  • Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.

  • Redeem cash back any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.

  • No annual fee.

  • Get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.

  • Click "APPLY NOW" to see rewards, FICO® Credit Score terms, Cashback Match™ details & other information.

  • View Rates & Fees

Our pick for

0% period for transfers and purchases + bonus cash back

Apply now

on Chase's website

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Apply now

on Chase's website

Annual fee

$0

Intro APR

0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers

Regular APR

15.24%-23.99% Variable APR

Recommended Credit Score

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® earns 5 stars for its generous cash-back rewards, and a solid 0% offer for balance transfers is just icing on the cake.

Pros

  • You get a 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 15.24%-23.99% Variable APR. The card has ongoing value with 1.5% cash back on most purchases, plus 5% on travel booked through Chase and 3% at drugstores and restaurants. There's an attractive bonus offer for new cardholders, too.

Cons

  • You can get a longer 0% period on transfers with other cards, including a couple that also earn cash back.

Read full review
  • INTRO OFFER: Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) - worth up to $300 cash back!

  • Enjoy 6.5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more; 4.5% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and 3% on all other purchases (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year).

  • After your first year or $20,000 spent, enjoy 5% cash back on Chase travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards®, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.

  • No minimum to redeem for cash back. You can choose to receive a statement credit or direct deposit into most U.S. checking and savings accounts. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open!

  • Enjoy 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 15.24% - 23.99%.

  • No annual fee - You won't have to pay an annual fee for all the great features that come with your Freedom Unlimited® card

  • Keep tabs on your credit health, Chase Credit Journey helps you monitor your credit with free access to your latest score, real-time alerts, and more.

  • See if you qualify for a better offer with Chase:

    Get Pre-Qualified

Our pick for

Long 0% period on transfers + no late fees

Apply now

on Citibank's application

Citi Simplicity® Card

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Apply now

on Citibank's application

Annual fee

$0

Intro APR

0% Intro APR for 21 months on Balance Transfers and 12 months on Purchases

Regular APR

15.49%-25.49% Variable APR

Recommended Credit Score

The 0% intro APR period this card offers on balance transfers is lengthy. And you'll never pay late fees or a penalty APR on the Citi Simplicity® Card.

Pros

  • The long 0% period on balance transfers is this card's primary selling point. The absence of late fees is a benefit for the absent-minded, although you don't want to get in the habit of paying bills late. Other lenders aren't as forgiving, and chronic lateness can kill your credit score.

Cons

  • The balance transfer fee is more expensive than some other cards on the market. And because it doesn't earn rewards, there's not a lot of ongoing value to the card once that 0% period runs out.

Read full review
  • No Late Fees, No Penalty Rate, and No Annual Fee... Ever

  • 0% Intro APR for 21 months on balance transfers from date of first transfer and 0% Intro APR for 12 months on purchases from date of account opening. After that the variable APR will be 15.49% - 25.49%, based on your creditworthiness. Balance transfers must be completed within 4 months of account opening.

  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 15.49% - 25.49%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.

  • Stay protected with Citi® Quick Lock and $0 liability on unauthorized charges.

Our pick for

Longer 0% period for transfers and purchases

Apply now

on US Bank's website

U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Apply now

on US Bank's website

Annual fee

$0

Intro APR

0% intro APR for 20 billing cycles on purchases and balance transfers

Regular APR

15.24%-25.24% Variable APR

Recommended Credit Score

The lengthy introductory 0% APR periods for both purchases and balance transfers on the U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card give you plenty of time to pay down new and old debts interest-free.

Pros

  • The card comes with generous introductory 0% APR periods. You can choose your own due date with this card, which allows you to schedule debt payment for when its easiest on your wallet. It also offers cell phone protection if you use it to pay your cell phone bill.

Cons

  • Once the 0% period ends, so does the chief benefit of this card. Still, the cell phone coverage is a good reason to hold onto it. There's a balance transfer fee, but it's only 3%.

Read full review
  • Limited Time Offer!

  • 0% Intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 20 billing cycles. After that, a variable APR currently 15.24% - 25.24%.

  • Get up to $600 protection on your cell phone (subject to $25 deductible) against covered damage or theft when you pay your monthly cellular telephone bill with your U.S.Bank Visa® Platinum Credit Card. Certain terms, conditions, and exclusions apply.

  • Choose a payment due date that fits your schedule

  • No Annual Fee

  • Pay over time by splitting eligible purchases of $100+ into equal monthly payments with U.S. Bank ExtendPay™ Plan.

  • Terms and conditions apply.

  • View Rates & Fees

Our pick for

Long 0% period for transfers + flat-rate cash back

Apply now

on Citibank's application

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

4.6

NerdWallet rating 
Apply now

on Citibank's application

Annual fee

$0

Intro APR

0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months

Regular APR

14.74%-24.74% Variable APR

Recommended Credit Score

The Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer is renowned for its best-in-class cash-back rewards, but it comes with a great balance-transfer offer, too.

Pros

  • As a balance-transfer card, there's a lot to like, including a lengthy introductory interest-free period for transfers. And the card has tremendous ongoing value: 2% cash back on all purchases — 1% when you buy something and 1% when you pay it off.

Cons

  • There's no 0% period for purchases. That means if you transfer a balance onto this card, you'll get no grace period, and you'll be paying interest on purchases right away. Your best move is to pay off the transferred debt first, then start using this card for the rewards.

Read full review
  • Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.

  • To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time.

  • Balance Transfer Only Offer: 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 14.74% – 24.74%, based on your creditworthiness.

  • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back. Intro APR does not apply to purchases.

  • If you transfer a balance, interest will be charged on your purchases unless you pay your entire balance (including balance transfers) by the due date each month.

  • There is an intro balance transfer fee of 3% of each transfer (minimum $5) completed within the first 4 months of account opening. After that, your fee will be 5% of each transfer (minimum $5).

  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 14.74% - 24.74%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.

Our pick for

0% period for transfers and purchases + bonus cash back

Apply now

on Chase's website

Chase Freedom Flex℠

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Apply now

on Chase's website

Annual fee

$0

Intro APR

0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers

Regular APR

15.24%-23.99% Variable APR

Recommended Credit Score

The Chase Freedom Flex℠ is a perennial favorite for its inviting combination of bonus categories and its generous sign-up offer. Add to that a great 0% intro offer for balance transfers.

Pros

  • You get a 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 15.24%-23.99% Variable APR. The card offers bonus cash back of 3% to 5% on certain travel, at restaurants and drugstores, and in categories that change each quarter. Other spending earns 1% cash back.

Cons

  • You can get a longer 0% period on transfers with other cards, including a couple that also earn cash back. The rotating quarterly 5% cash back categories give this card a lot of its appeal, but they do require some work, since you have to opt into them every three months.

Read full review
  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.

  • 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!

  • 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more

  • 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

  • No minimum to redeem for cash back. You can choose to receive a statement credit or direct deposit into most U.S. checking and savings accounts. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open!

  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 15.24% - 23.99%.

  • No annual fee - You won't have to pay an annual fee for all the great features that come with your Freedom Flex℠ card

  • Keep tabs on your credit health - Chase Credit Journey helps you monitor your credit with free access to your latest score, real-time alerts, and more.

  • See if you qualify for a better offer with Chase:

    Get Pre-Qualified

Our pick for

0% period for transfers and purchases + flat-rate cash back

Apply now

on Wells Fargo's website

Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Apply now

on Wells Fargo's website

Annual fee

$0

Intro APR

0% intro APR on Purchases for 15 months and 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers 15 months from account opening on qualifying balance transfers

Regular APR

15.74%, 20.74%, or 25.74% Variable APR

Recommended Credit Score

The 0% intro APR period for balance transfers on the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card isn't as long as what you get from some of the other cards on this list, but it's still well over a year. Pair it with the 5-star cash-back benefits, and you have a pretty compelling card.

Pros

  • The card offers a 0% intro APR on Purchases for 15 months and 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers 15 months from account opening on qualifying balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 15.74%, 20.74%, or 25.74% Variable APR. In addition, you'll earn an unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases, and there's a juicy sign-up bonus, too — all for an annual fee of $0.

Cons

  • There's a foreign transaction fee, and while that's fairly common among cash-back credit cards, it means it's not an ideal companion for traveling abroad.

Read full review
  • Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months

  • Earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases

  • 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers, then a 15.74%, 20.74%, or 25.74% variable APR; balance transfers made within 120 days qualify for the intro rate and fee of 3% then a BT fee of up to 5%, min: $5

  • $0 annual fee

  • No categories to track or remember and cash rewards don't expire as long as your account remains open

  • Enjoy a premium collection of benefits at a selection of the world's most intriguing and prestigious hotel properties with Visa Signature Concierge

  • Get up to $600 protection on your cell phone (subject to $25 deductible) against covered damage or theft when you pay your monthly cellular telephone bill with your Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

  • Select "Apply Now" to learn more about the product features, terms and conditions

  • View Rates & Fees

Our pick for

0% period for transfers and purchases + travel rewards

Apply now

on Discover's website, or call 800-347-0264

Discover it® Miles

3.8

NerdWallet rating 
Apply now

on Discover's website, or call 800-347-0264

Annual fee

$0

Intro APR

0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers

Regular APR

12.24%-23.24% Variable APR

Recommended Credit Score

The Discover it® Miles doesn't have the longest introductory APR period for balance transfers, but the fact that it has one at all is significant. It's rare to find a 0% balance transfer offer on a dedicated travel rewards credit card.

Pros

  • You get a 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 12.24%-23.24% Variable APR. The card earns 1.5 miles per dollar spent, and miles can be redeemed for travel or cash back at the same rate (a penny per mile). The card also comes with Discover's signature rewards-matching new cardholder offer. The annual fee is $0.

Cons

  • The intro APR period on this card is shorter than what you'll find on other top balance transfer cards.

Read full review
  • UNLIMITED BONUS: Only Discover gives you an unlimited match of all the Miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year. For example, if you earn 35,000 Miles, you get 70,000 Miles. There’s no signing up, no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a Miles-for-Miles match.

  • Automatically earn unlimited 1.5x Miles on every dollar of every purchase - with no annual fee.

  • Redeem Miles to pay any part of your monthly bill, including your minimum payment.

  • Turn Miles into cash in any amount, any time. Or redeem as a statement credit for travel purchases like airfare, hotels, rideshares, gas stations, restaurants and more with no blackout dates. However you redeem, Miles keep the same value. And Miles never expire.

  • New Intro APR: 0% intro APR† for 15 months on purchases. Then 12.24% to 23.24% Standard Variable Purchase APR will apply.

  • Discover is accepted nationwide by 99% of the places that take credit cards.

  • Freeze your account in seconds with an on/off switch either on the mobile app or website to prevent new purchases, cash advances, and balance transfers.

  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.

  • Click "APPLY NOW" to see rewards, FICO® Credit Score terms, Discover Match® details & other information.

  • View Rates & Fees

Our pick for

Long 0% period for transfers and purchases

Apply now

on Chase's website

Chase Slate Edge℠

4.8

NerdWallet rating 
Apply now

on Chase's website

Annual fee

$0

Intro APR

0% intro APR for 18 months on purchases and balance transfers

Regular APR

15.24%-23.99% Variable APR

Recommended Credit Score

The Chase Slate Edge℠ gives you plenty of time to pay down debt interest-free, as well as a way to whittle down your ongoing APR after the 0% introductory period ends.

Pros

  • This card has a 0% intro APR for 18 months on purchases and balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 15.24%-23.99% Variable APR. Also, cardholders are automatically considered for a 2% APR reduction each year (until reaching the prime rate plus 9.74%) when they make their card payments on time and spend at least $1,000 by their account anniversary.

Cons

  • With no rewards, this card's value beyond the 0% period is limited. While an earlier version of the Slate famously had no balance transfer fee, this card charges one: 3% for the first 60 days of account holding, then $5 or 5% of the amount of each balance transfer, whichever is greater.

Read full review
  • Start off strong with 0% Intro APR for 18 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers. A variable APR of 15.24% - 23.99% on balance transfers and purchases after the introductory period ends.

  • Lower your interest rate by 2% each year. Automatically be considered for an APR reduction when you pay on time, and spend at least $1000 on your card by your next account anniversary.

  • Raise your credit limit. Get an automatic, one-time review for a higher credit limit when you pay on time, and spend $500 in your first six months.

  • All for no annual fee - You won't have to pay an annual fee for all the great features that come with your Slate Edge℠ card

  • Keep tabs on your credit health - Chase Credit Journey helps you monitor your credit with free access to your latest score, real-time alerts, and more

FULL LIST OF EDITORIAL PICKS: BEST BALANCE TRANSFER CREDIT CARDS

Click the card name to read our review. Before applying, confirm details on the issuer’s website.

Our pick for: Longest 0% period for transfers and purchases

The Wells Fargo Reflect℠ Card has one of the longest 0% intro APR periods on the market — potentially approaching almost two years, if you meet on-time minimum payment requirements. You'll be hard-pressed to find a longer interest-free promotion, and it applies to both purchases and balance transfers. Read our review.

Our pick for: Longer 0% period for transfers and purchases

A lengthy 0% introductory APR period for both purchases and balance transfers has made the U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card a NerdWallet favorite. Read our review.

Our pick for: Long 0% period for transfers and purchases

The BankAmericard® credit card isn't flashy, nor does it aim to be. You get a decent 0% introductory APR period to whittle down debt or finance a large purchase. And that's about it. Read our review.

Our pick for: Long 0% period for transfers and purchases

The $0-annual-fee Chase Slate Edge℠ is light on flash but features an excellent 0% intro APR period on purchases and balance transfers, plus some other potential incentives for paying on time. Read our review.

Our pick for: Long 0% period on transfers + no late fees

The Citi Simplicity® Card has an excellent 0% intro APR period on balance transfers, and an OK one on purchases. It doesn't charge an annual fee, late fees or penalty APRs either. Its balance transfer fee is on the high side, though. Read our review.

Our pick for: Long 0% period for transfers

The Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card offers a super-lengthy 0% intro APR period on balance transfers, and there's also a decent offer on purchases. But the balance transfer fee is pricey. It doesn't have the late-fee forgiveness of Citi's other balance-transfer card, but it's still a great option. Read our review.

Our pick for: Long 0% period for transfers + bonus cash back

What makes the Discover it® Balance Transfer stand out from other balance-transfer cards is its ongoing cash-back rewards, which give you a great reason to keep using the card regularly even after its introductory 0% APR period ends. Read our review.

Our pick for: Long 0% period for transfers + flat-rate cash back

Year after year, the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer has been our choice for the best flat-rate cash-back card. You earn 2% cash back on every purchase — 1% when you buy something and 1% when you pay it off. There's no 0% intro period for purchases and no sign-up bonus, but the high rewards rate more than makes up for the lack of bells and whistles. Read our review.

Our pick for: 0% period for transfers and purchases + flat-rate cash back

Among flat-rate cash-back cards, you'll be hard-pressed to beat the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card. It earns an unlimited 2% back on all purchases, which is excellent. But in addition, the card offers a rich sign-up bonus and a generous 0% intro APR on both purchases and balance transfers. That's an impressive, hard-to-find combination of features on a card with a $0 annual fee. Read our review.

Our pick for: 0% period for transfers and purchases + bonus cash back

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® was already a fine card when it offered 1.5% cash back on all purchases. Now it's even better, with bonus rewards on travel booked through Chase, as well as at restaurants and drugstores. On top of all that, new cardholders get a 0% introductory APR period and the opportunity to earn a sweet cash bonus. Read our review.

Our pick for: 0% period for transfers and purchases + bonus cash back

The Chase Freedom Flex℠ offers bonus cash back in quarterly categories that you activate, as well as on travel booked through Chase, at restaurants and at drugstores. Category activation can be a hassle, but if your spending matches the categories — and for a lot of people, it will — you can rack up hundreds of dollars a year. There's a fantastic bonus offer for new cardholders and a 0% intro APR period, too. Read our review.

Our pick for: 0% period for transfers and purchases + travel rewards

The Discover it® Miles is the rare travel credit card that lets you redeem your rewards for travel or for cash back at the same rate. (Also rare among travel cards is its intro APR period for balance transfers.) You earn unlimited 1.5 miles per dollar spent on purchases, and the miles are generally worth 1 cent apiece — that's a solid rate for a card with no annual fee. As with other Discover cards, this one matches the rewards you earn in your first year. Read our review.

• • •

OTHER RESOURCES

By Erin Hurd, NerdWallet

What is a 0% balance transfer?

A balance transfer involves moving debt from a high-interest credit card to a new card with a lower interest rate, ideally one with an introductory 0% period. Essentially, you're using one card to pay off another, but because you aren't paying as much in interest, you have more money available to pay down your debt more quickly.

How much can I save with a 0% balance transfer?

A balance transfer makes financial sense only if the money you save on interest is more than any fee you'll pay to carry out the transfer.

Interest savings

Moving debt to a card with an introductory 0% APR period for balance transfers will obviously save you money in interest. Those savings can add up to hundreds or even thousands of dollars depending on how much you owe.

According to NerdWallet's American Household Credit Card Debt Study, the average household with revolving credit card debt — that is, debt that was carried from one month to the next — had a total of $6,741 in such debt in March 2019. Let's say you had that much debt on a card with an APR of 17%, and you wanted to pay off the debt in equal amounts over 18 months:

  • If you left the debt on the 17% card, you'd pay more than $900 in interest over the course of those 18 months.

  • If you transferred the debt to a card with a 0% intro APR for 18 months, you'd pay no interest at all. Further, if you used the money you would have paid in interest and applied it to paying down the balance, you'd be out of debt a couple of months earlier.

Mind the balance transfer fee

A balance transfer isn't always a slam-dunk solution to high-interest debt. Most cards with promotional 0% APR periods charge balance transfer fees, which typically range from 3% to 5% of the amount being transferred. Some cards don't charge these fees, or waive them for a period of time when you first open your account.

Before pulling the trigger on a transfer, consider whether the amount you’ll save on interest will be enough to make up for any transfer fee. In the above example, a 3% fee on a $6,741 transfer comes out to a little over $200, while a 5% fee would be about $340. If you're saving $900 in interest, then the fee is worth paying.

However, if you'd been planning to pay off the debt in six months rather than 18, then the transfer would have saved you only about $330 in interest — so a 3% fee would have eaten up most of your savings while a 5% fee would have ended up costing you money.

Estimate your savings with our calculator

Whether a balance transfer will save you money depends mostly on four factors:

  • How much you owe.

  • The current interest rate on that debt.

  • The balance transfer fee.

  • How long the 0% period on the new card lasts.

Enter this information into NerdWallet's balance transfer calculator to get a sense of how much you could save by doing a balance transfer.

How to do a 0% balance transfer

If the math on a balance transfer works in your favor, here’s what to do next.

1. Apply for a 0% balance transfer card

In many cases, cards with an introductory 0% APR offer for transfers give you only a short period of time after opening your account to take advantage of the offer — say, 60 days. So even if you already have a card with a 0% period in effect, it might be too late to use it for a transfer.

In general, you'll need good credit to qualify for a balance transfer card.

Most issuers won’t let you transfer debt from one of their cards to another. For example, you can’t transfer a balance from one Chase card to another. So make sure you aren’t applying for a card from the same bank that holds the debt you need to transfer.

2. Tell the new card’s issuer you want to do a transfer

With some cards, you can do this from your online account dashboard or even the issuer’s mobile app. With others, you’ll need to call the customer service number on the back of the card.

3. Provide information requested by your issuer

You’ll need to know the account number of the debt you want to transfer and how much you want to move. Depending on the credit limit on your new card and the card issuer’s policies (which may limit the amount of a transfer), you may get approved to transfer the entire amount or just a part of it.

4. Continue making payments on the old card

This is critical. The transfer doesn't happen as soon as you ask for it. It can take days or even a couple of weeks. Pay at least the minimum until your old card account shows that the debt has been moved. The last thing you want is to incur an expensive late fee (and possibly damage your credit scores).

5. Watch your accounts

You’ll see the debt paid off on the old card and show up on the new one. Now it’s time to pay it down.

6. Stash the old card, but keep it open

It may be tempting to cut up the old card and cancel the account for the sake of catharsis, but closing a paid-off credit card account can damage your credit scores. If the card doesn't charge an annual fee, keep it open.

Should you get a 0% balance transfer card? Pros and cons

Pros: Why it’s worth getting a balance transfer card

  • You can pay off your debt faster. This should be the point of the balance transfer. Apply the money you save in interest to your balance to get you out of debt faster. Don’t just move debt from one card to another to avoid paying it off.

  • It simplifies your finances. If you’re juggling multiple payments and due dates, you may find it easier to consolidate into one monthly lower-interest payment.

Cons: Why a balance transfer card might not be for you

  • If you don’t pay off your debt within the 0% period, you could be worse off. Without a solid plan in place to pay off the balance you’ve transferred, you could end up paying interest at even higher rate than on your previous card when the 0% period expires.

  • There’s typically a fee involved. Most cards have a balance transfer fee, and depending on how much you owe and the terms you’re looking for, it may not be worth it to shift your debt.

  • You need good to excellent credit to qualify. If your credit standing is just OK, you may not get approved for another card. And every time you apply for a new card, your score takes a hit, so it’s best not to apply if you think approval is a long shot.

  • You may get approved for an amount less than you want to transfer. The new card's issuer might let you transfer only a portion of what you owe. For example, it might set a limit of $5,000 on balance transfers. You can try asking for a higher amount. If that fails, consider other steps to pay down your debt.

How to compare 0% balance transfer cards

1. Determine whether you qualify

In most cases, 0% balance transfer credit cards require good or excellent credit. Generally, that means a credit score of about 690 or better. (You can get your credit score for free on NerdWallet.)

2. Look at the issuer that holds your current debt

In most cases, you can't transfer balances among cards from the same bank — from one Chase card to another Chase card, for example. This is important to know because it will save you from getting a card you can’t use. Be especially careful with store-branded credit cards, which often do not clearly identify the issuing bank. (Stores don't typically issue and manage their own credit cards; they partner with a bank to do it.)

3. Compare 0% APR periods for balance transfers

The longer the 0% period, the better, since you’ll have more time to pay down your debt without interest. But know that longer periods might mean higher transfer fees

4. Compare balance transfer fees

Transfer fees on most credit cards range from 3% to 5%. That’s equivalent to $30 to $50 for each $1,000 you transfer. A handful of cards do not charge transfer fees or waive them for an introductory period. But those cards are few and far between, and most of them require excellent credit. Also, cards that don’t charge a transfer fee generally have shorter 0% APR periods than balance transfer cards that do.

5. Say no to annual fees

A good balance transfer card will not charge an annual fee. Some rewards cards with annual fees do offer 0% introductory periods, but they're a bad choice for getting out of debt. (The rewards and sign-up bonuses on such cards encourage spending, and the annual fee eats up money that could be going to pay down debt.)

Making the most of your 0% balance transfer credit card

  • Use your balance transfer credit card only for debt. The cards that save you the most while paying off debt generally don’t offer the best rewards. That's why it's better to use two cards: One for paying off debt over time, and one for making (and immediately paying off) new purchases.

  • Know when promotional periods end. Your card’s introductory 0% APR period doesn't last forever, and in most cases a $0 transfer fee is available only for a limited time. Transfer debt and pay it off within those time periods to avoid interest and fees. Read your credit card statements carefully — or just call your issuer and ask if you're not sure when the clock will run out.

  • Pay on time. If you’re late with a payment, your card’s 0% balance transfer APR will probably disappear. That’s because promotional terms often get voided if your account isn’t in good standing. Aside from losing the card’s most valuable feature, you might also have to pay a late fee (close to $40, typically) and a penalty interest rate (often about 30%). Avoid this basket of bad news by setting up automatic payments, if you’re confident you’ll have enough money in your account to cover at least the minimum. Make extra payments throughout the month, as your budget allows.

  • Make a plan. Take stock of your debt and figure out what you’ll have to do to become debt-free. Calculate how much extra money you can put toward your credit card debt each month, and track your progress as you chip away at the balance .

Alternatives to a 0% balance transfer

Maybe a balance transfer card isn’t right for you. There are other ways to get a handle on your debt.

1. Pay more than the minimum due

Your minimum monthly payment due is the absolute least you can pay without incurring a penalty. It won't get you very far toward paying off your debt. To see real interest savings, you need to pay interest on less money, and that means reducing the principal by paying more than the minimum.

2. Use a debt payment calculator

Debt payment calculators show you how much you could save in interest by paying down your credit card balance without a transfer. Enter your balance and choose an interest rate, then see your savings if you reduced the balance by 5% to 50%. See the calculator here.

3. Ask if you qualify for a lower rate

If your credit score has improved since you opened the account, it could pay off to ask your issuer to lower your interest rate. You might get some points knocked off your rate, or possibly get your account moved to a card with a lower rate. You may also be told it’s not possible, but it’s worth a phone call to ask.

5. Consider a personal loan

A personal loan can be a solid option to get a handle on your high-interest debt. Personal loans can be issued by banks, credit unions and online lenders. Some loans designed for debt consolidation can even be paid directly to your creditors, streamlining the process.

Keep in mind that a personal loan makes sense only if the interest rate on the loan is the less than the interest rate you were paying on your credit card debt. Shop around to find the most favorable terms and know that credit unions typically offer some of the best rates but you typically have to become a member to apply. Some online lenders charge origination fees, similar to when a balance transfer card charges a balance transfer fee. Be sure to do the math before committing to a card's terms.

Last updated on May 25, 2022

Methodology

NerdWallet's Credit Cards team selects the best balance transfer credit cards based on overall consumer value, as evidenced by star ratings, as well as their suitability for specific kinds of consumers. Factors in our evaluation include annual fees, balance transfer fees, the length of each card's 0% introductory APR period, ongoing APRs, credit-profile requirements, cardholders' access to credit scores, and other noteworthy features such as rewards or perks that give the card ongoing value beyond the promotional APR period. Learn how NerdWallet rates credit cards.

Frequently asked questions